“Over the past few months I have been enthralled and captivated by the story of a man from Croydon in south London who died more than 100 years ago and who wrote one of the biggest musical hits of the 20th century,” writes Lenny Henry, an English comedian, actor, and television presenter, in Wednesday’s (11/14) Guardian (U.K.). “His name was Samuel Coleridge-Taylor…. Young Samuel was brought up by his mother and her extended family in Croydon…. The family clubbed together to pay Samuel’s fees at the Royal College of Music, which he entered at 15 as a violin scholar. But the violin was set to one side and composition took center stage and he was taken under the wing of the composer and conductor Charles Villiers Stanford, who also mentored a generation of big-name composers.… The thing I like about Coleridge-Taylor is that he fought adversity to reach the top. He suffered racial abuse at school … but remained dignified. His compositions are dynamic, bold, incredibly melodic and immediately accessible…. Perhaps it’s time for everyone to take a fresh look at classical music and put aside the stereotypes…. This is our music—it’s music for everyone.”

Posted November 19, 2018